This week, we continue to answer some of the frequently asked questions about reading aloud we’ve heard from parents over the years. Remember to post your questions in the comments section and we will try to answer them in a future post.
Q: My kindergartener is starting to read on her own, but she doesn’t want to! She only wants me to read to her. Should I stop reading aloud to her so she has to read by herself?
A: Keep reading aloud to your child! Though they may not express it in words, many early readers are reluctant to start reading on their own because they are afraid mom or dad will stop reading to them. They are worried that they will lose that special closeness as they grow up. Reassure your child that you will continue to read aloud to her, and “reward” her for reading on her own with extra read aloud time.
Try reading the You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You series by Mary Ann Hoberman. These books are specially written for grown ups and children to read together, and kids LOVE them.
Q: My son is an excellent reader. He is in 2nd grade and can read level M books already, so I think he should be reading to himself. Are there any benefits to reading aloud to him at this stage?
A: Keep reading aloud to your child! Your son is still growing as a reader, so he can understand and discuss stories and information at levels far higher than he can read on his own. Reading him these more advanced books helps him become a better reader and thinker. While he may be able to read Magic Tree House books on his own, you could read aloud something more advanced, like The Wizard of Oz.
Q: I don’t have time to read aloud to my child every night. Is it okay if his big brother reads aloud to him?
A: Encouraging siblings to read to each other is a lovely way to build a tradition of reading in your home and provide an authentic motivation for kids to read. However, you want to make sure your child hears books read with fluency, meaning that the book is read smoothly, with correct pronunciation, and with a lot of expression. It may be hard for a slightly older sibling to do this, so make sure you or another reader are also reading to your child.
Audio books can also fill the gap! If you are a Success Academy family, ask your child’s teacher about audio books. You can also find them at public libraries or download them from audible.com, iTunes, or audiobooks.com (subscription service).
Q: I read aloud to my scholar, and she also reads aloud to me. How much should I help her when she struggles with a word?
A: Definitely encourage your child to tackle the word on her own. You can reminder her to “stretch it out” or ask her, “What makes sense here?” However, you don’t want her to get too frustrated when you are enjoying reading together! If she can’t get the word after two or three tries, simply tell her the word and move on.
Q: How do I find great books to read aloud?
A: There are many lists and resources for finding great books. If you are a Success Academy family, make sure you have a copy of our recommended book list. You received this list before the summer, but you can use it all year! Ask your scholar’s teacher or your school’s main office for a copy if you need one.
Other places to get started:
- The New York Public Library’s 100 Great Children’s Books
- The Horn Book’s annual Fanfare list. (This link is to the 2013 list, but the 2014 list will be coming out soon!)
- School Library Journal’s Best Books. (This link is also to a 2013 list, but the 2014 list will be coming out soon!)
- The American Library Association Youth Media Awards, which include the prestigious Caldecott, Newbery, and Coretta Scott King medals.